A first-time DUI arrest can be a scary, frustrating, and confusing experience. Unfortunately, a conviction can result in harsh penalties, such as jail time, fines and license suspension. Additionally, having a DUI on your criminal record can negatively affect your employment and educational opportunities.
However, it might be possible to have your DUI charge reduced to reckless driving. If you have never been in trouble with the law and there are weaknesses in the prosecution's case, most prosecutors will be open to plea bargaining.
Common weaknesses in a prosecutor's case include:
- The defendant's BAC was at or below the legal limit (.08)
- The police didn't have sufficient reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the traffic stop
- The police failed to properly administer the field sobriety test or breathalyzer test
- The police conduct an unlawful search in the vehicle
Also known as a “wet reckless,” it is a specific type of reckless driving charge which only applies to drunk or drugged driving. The main benefit of obtaining a wet reckless conviction is the lowered penalties compared to DUI.
In Tennessee, a reckless driving conviction is considered a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, fines of up to $580, and six demerit points added to your driving record. By contrast, a first-time DUI conviction can result in a maximum jail sentence of 11 months, fines of up to $1,500, license suspension for up to one year, enrollment in DUI school and other penalties.
So if you are facing a first-time DUI charge, it is imperative to seek the legal counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Clarke Law Firm, our Murfreesboro DUI lawyer can thoroughly review your case and figure out your available legal options to either have your case entirely dismissed or your charges reduced. We can detect any weakness in the state's case, allowing us to develop an effective and personalized defense strategy to get the best outcome possible.
Keep in mind, the prosecution may request the reckless driving penalties to mirror those of an actual DUI conviction. They may also request additional penalties on top of the reckless driving charge. Nevertheless, the benefit of avoiding a permanent DUI conviction outweighs having to bear that mark on your criminal record for the rest of your life.